Infrastructure is More than Just Pavement – It’s Waterways and Ports, Too

When the topic of infrastructure is discussed, many people think of roads, bridges, and perhaps even rail, but a critical component of any reliable infrastructure system involves ports and waterways.

The Port of Mobile is Alabama’s only deep-water port. It moves approximately 54 million tons of cargo each year, ranking it consistently among the top dozen or so ports in the country.

As modern cargo ships are becoming larger and larger, the need to enlarge the Mobile Ship Channel is becoming increasingly apparent. At an event hosted by the Mobile Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby discussed how enlarging the Mobile Ship Channel will be a “once in a lifetime” project. Deeping and widening the Mobile Ship Channel to allow large cargo vessels to access the port will provide tremendous economic benefit to the entire region.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting a $7.8 million study on the project’s scope and environmental impact.

Earlier this spring it was announced that the Port of Mobile is developing a $60 million auto export facility that will allow vehicles to be driven directly onto cargo ships going all over the world. While automobiles are Alabama’s top export, state-made automobiles are currently loaded onto ships at ports in other states. This new terminal is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

All facets of transportation infrastructure work hand-in-hand. In order to ship goods abroad, we must maximize the potential of the Port of Mobile. To move cargo in and out of the port, we need to have a quality, free-flowing system of roads and bridges that meets our 21st Century needs.

The BCA’s federal legislative agenda supports adequately funding the Army Corps of Engineers and the operation, maintenance, and improvement of Alabama’s navigable waterways, and the Port of Mobile.